Thanks for getting back to me.
As someone who has spent a good deal of time working for the federal
government, I can tell you with certainty that agency goals and
objectives are an important part of departmental life, but can also be
a quagmire to wade through and understand.
I've identified two key Department of Education reports below that
will clarify the status of the No Child Left Behind programs. I've
excerpted some relevant information, but you'll really need to see the
full reports themselves -- and spend some time with them -- in order
to fully appreciate how NCLB is woven into Departmental goals,
objectives and performance measurements.
P.S. My apologies in advance for the likely situation that the
cut-and-paste excerpts from the reports will have weird line-breaks
after the answer is posted...I'm afraid that's an occupational hazard
in this line of work!
The Department of Education's Annual Plan for FY2004 (all 150+ pages
of it!) can be seen at:
The overall statement of mission pertaining to the No Child Left
Behind Act of 2001 begins on page 2 of the report--I've excerpted it
at length here:
No Child Left Behind
One year after President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child
Left Behind Act of 2001
(NCLB), state officials, administrators, and teachers across the
country are hard at work making
changes designed to help ensure that by 2013-14, every student who
attends an American school
will be proficient in reading and mathematics. This far-reaching,
bipartisan reauthorization of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is based on
accountability for results, choice,
proven educational methods, and flexibility and local control in
federal education programs.
In response to NCLB, states are strengthening their accountability
systems by setting tough annual
progress objectives and expanding the assessments that will be used to
measure that progress.
School districts are emphasizing efforts to improve low-performing
schools while providing new
options for parents of students attending schools that do not improve,
such as the opportunity to
transfer to a better-performing school or to use federal funds to
obtain supplemental educational
services from the provider of their choice. Secretary Paige and
Department leadership have worked
closely with state officials to coordinate the implementation of NCLB.
All 50 states and the District
of Columbia submitted their accountability plans on time. Six states
submitted their plans early
and we have already approved them. Department staff are visiting each
state to review its
accountability plans and discuss NCLB implementation.
Schools are using assessment data to identify areas where instruction
must be improved and are
adopting proven educational practices to make the changes needed to
raise student achievement.
Parents are learning more than ever before about how well schools are
educating their children
from the state and local 'report cards' required by NCLB, and they are
using this information to
demand improvement from their schools and options for their children.
President Bush and the Congress have provided significant resources to
leverage the improved state
and local accountability called for in NCLB. This reflected the
President's commitment to provide
more resources for education in exchange for stronger accountability
for results and on condition
that federal funds be used to support proven educational methods.
Consistent with the traditionally limited federal role in the American
system of education, this
investment is focused squarely on meeting the needs of students from
and minority backgrounds. These are students who have been left behind
for too long, and
President Bush has made meeting their educational needs at the K-12
level and beyond a
cornerstone of his Administration.
For this reason, President Bush has focused new education investments
on programs that have a
demonstrated record of success in improving educational outcomes, or
on programs that have been
fundamentally reformed by the No Child Left Behind Act. The President
also has targeted new
resources to programs that help to close the achievement gaps that
persist among racial, ethnic,
and socioeconomic groups across the country.
About the new law Secretary Rod Paige declared, "Reform is no longer
about access or money. It is
no longer about compliance or excuses. It is about improving student
achievement by improving
the quality of the education we offer American students."
The No Child Left Behind Act demands progress and achievement. It
embraces the principles
supported by the President: accountability for results, flexibility
and local control, expanded
parental options, and doing what works. Putting these principles into
action will transform our
K-12 educational system. These same principles will serve as the
foundation for upcoming reforms
in areas such as special education, vocational rehabilitation, higher
education, adult education, and
If you search in the report for the phrase, No Child Left Behind (and
for NCLB, which is often used as shorthand reference) you'll find it
used throughout the report, including in the following goals and
Strategies and Action Steps for Objective 1.1
Strategy A: Help states implement their NCLB accountability plans
a. Provide support to states, districts, and organizations that assist
states with implementing the standards, testing and accountability
provisions of the NCLB.
b. Identify model implementation of NCLB in selected states and schools.
c. Partner with the Education Commission of the States to track state
implementation of NCLB.
d. Develop a new public service advertising campaign with leading
business, government, and education organizations in order to build
awareness of the NCLB, including its accountability provisions.
e. Provide technical assistance to ensure that new testing and
accountability requirements in NCLB are understood and met.
Strategy D: Develop plans and reports that tie funding to accountability
c. Publish an annual national education performance report that
provides data about state progress on a number of K-16 indicators
(data drawn largely from NCLB Consolidated State Reports).
Objective 1.3 Increase information and options for parents
Parents are their children's first and most important teachers. The
Department is aggressively implementing the parental involvement,
information, and options components of the No Child Left Behind Act
(NCLB) and encouraging states and communities to provide additional
educational choices for parents. States and districts are required to
publish report cards that provide school performance information to
parents. Under NCLB, children attending low-performing or unsafe
schools now have the opportunity to attend better public schools
(including charter schools) or use federal funds for private tutoring.
Strategies and Action Steps for Objective 1.3
Strategy A: Provide choices to children trapped in low-performing or unsafe schools
d. Develop and widely disseminate print and online publications that
highlight innovative LEA approaches to implementing NCLB public school
choice requirements and supplemental services requirements.
Strategy B: Support charter and magnet schools
b. Create additional charter school capacity through credit
enhancement for charter school facilities to target resources to
communities with a high proportion of schools in need of improvement
Strategy D: Provide information to parents about their educational options
f. Through targeted outreach and marketing, partner with the Black
Alliance for Educational Options to increase the number of parents and
children who take advantage of the NCLB choice and supplemental
services options in selected cities.
Objective 2.3 Improve the performance of all high school students
Strategy D: Increase learning options for students
c. As required by NCLB, issue guidelines through the Office for Civil
Rights for local educational agencies seeking funding for programs to
provide same-gender schools and classrooms.
Performance Measure for Objective 2.4
Objective 2.4: Improve Teacher and Principal Quality
Percentage of the nation's teachers of core academic subjects that are
highly qualified as defined by NCLB.
Objective 1.1: Link Federal Education Funding to Accountability for Results
The percentage of states with complete school accountability systems,
including testing in grades 3-8, in place as required by the No Child
Left Behind Act.
Objective 2.1 Ensure that all students read on grade level by the third grade
President Bush and Congress set a goal through the No Child Left
Behind Act that all children will read on grade level by third grade.
...the No Child Left Behind Act requires that all teachers of core
academic subjects be highly qualified by the
end of the 2005-06 school year. We are working hard to meet this goal,
by supporting states in
their efforts to recruit new, highly qualified teachers and to provide
current teachers with access to
rigorous professional development.
The second report to take note of is the Department of Education's
Strategic Plan, which covers the same objectives as the annual report
noted above, but adds a bit more detail as to how progress towards
these objectives will be measured (along the lines of the
"bureaucratic" example I gave you earlier).
The Strategic Report can be found here:
and a search on: No Child Left Behind will uncover a host of details such as:
...Using the 2001-2002 school year as a baseline, states are required
to set the same annual
achievement target for all students and for several student subgroups,
starting with the 2002-2003
school year. (This equates to the Department's 2003 fiscal year, which
is the first year this indicator
can be measured.) Under the No Child Left Behind Act, these targets
must increase at least every
three years for the next 12 years, when 100 percent of all students
within all subgroups are expected
to achieve proficiency. Therefore, while the targets listed above are
stable, student achievement will
actually need to improve steadily in order to meet these goals. When a
state does not test students in
the third-grade, results from fourth- or fifth-grade assessments will
be used instead.
These targets need to be read in context in order to be fully
understood and appreciated....there are simply too many (and they are
far too convoluted) to be extracted and summarized here.
I hope this answer -- and these two reports -- provide you with all
the information you need. But if anything here is unclear, or if you
need additional information, just let me know by posting a Request for
Clarification, and I'll be happy to assist you further.
visited the Department of Education website and searched on "no child left behind"